SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown is living up to his name.
St. Brown said his father, John Brown, gave him his first name because he liked the word equanimity, which the dictionary defines as the quality of remaining calm, undisturbed, especially under tension or strain. St. Brown, known by his teammates as EQ, has displayed that calmness this season as he’s stepped into a bigger role for the young Irish receiving corps.
“It adds a little more pressure but it’s not anything anyone can’t handle,” said St. Brown, who says his father added St. to his and his two brothers last names because he thought it sounded better and because Brown was originally a slave name.
St. Brown, who had just one catch for eight yards last season before a shoulder injury ended his season in November, opened this season against Texas with five catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns. The second touchdown, a 30-yard score, was a highlight-reel moment as he put his hand on the ground and gracefully flipped into the end zone.
“I didn’t realize what I did at the moment. I thought I actually just fell into the end zone,” he said.
The 6-foot-5, 205-pound sophomore could play an even bigger role this week for the 18th-ranked Irish (0-1) against Nevada (1-0) with Torii Hunter Jr., Notre Dame’s only experienced receiver, dealing with the effects of a concussion sustained in the loss to the Longhorns.
“Some younger guys are going to have to step up, which they will,” St. Brown said.
Coach Brian Kelly isn’t ready to proclaim St. Brown as the next great receiver at Notre Dame.
“It’s not going to revolve around him, but I think he gained some great confidence in his first game and it’s what we recruited him for,” Kelly said.
Kelly said St. Brown needs to do a better job blocking. But he also said St. Brown is a good route runner who is going to “get open a lot.”
St. Brown credits his father, a former two-time Mr. Universe, with helping him to learn to become a receiver. St. Brown said he had no desire to get into body building so his father asked him what he wanted to do. When St. Brown said he wanted to be a receiver, his father helped him with weightlifting, got him some specialized coaching and signed him up to play football in Compton, where his father was from, to toughen him up.
“It was just going to play football,” he said. “It was a different environment. It wasn’t anything extreme or anything. It wasn’t crazy.”
St. Brown said although he expects to be more involved this season in the Notre Dame offense, he doesn’t feel any different. He’s taking a calm approach to the season.
“I’m just more focused on playing a bigger role on the team. I’ve got to step up more,” he said.